A month ago, Frenchman Amaury Leveaux announced that he was taking a year off to recover for a run to the 2016 Summer Olympics. Today, he tells France’s L’equipe that his career has ended at 28 years old.
Leveaux says that after speaking to his family and taking some time, he decided that he’s accomplished enough in swimming, and that though it was not an easy decision, he feels comfortable walking away.
Leveaux is the owner of 4 Olympic medals, including a gold from the 400 free relay in London in 2012. He swam the lead-off leg there in 48.13 in the final, putting the French and their anchor Yannick Agnel in position to overtake Ryan Lochte of the United States for gold.
He was in the same position in 2008, leading off with a 47.91 in the famous Lezak race, where he wound up with silver.
He was also on the silver-medal winning 800 free relay at the 2012 Olympics, and won his lone individual Olympic medal with a silver in the 50 from 2008 in Beijing.
The Frenchman retires as the 6th-fastest of all-time in the 50 free in long course (21.25) and 16th on the all-time 100 free list in long course (47.76). He is the 100 freestyle World Record holder over short course meters (44.94 – though his country mate Florent Manaudou is creeping awfully close to that number) and the European Record holder in SCM in the 50 free with a 20.48.
He was 8-times a European Champion in short course meters (half of which came in individual events), to go with once over long course. His career will come to a close with a World Championship gold medal from 2013, his only such gold medal. In his only swim in Barcelona, he led France off with a 49.14 in prelims, which wasn’t fast enough to have him selected for the finals group that took the title.
With this retirement, perhaps, the changing of the guard in French sprinting is all-but-complete. Alain Bernard and Leveaux are retired; Fred Bousquet was a last-minute scratch from the European Championships to try and save his body a bit for 2016. Fabien Gilot is still in the mix for relay swims, but the torch now belongs to the generation of Stravius, Manaudou, and Agnel.